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Eileen Bell

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Preceded by  Lord Alderdice
Alma mater  University of Ulster
Political party  Alliance

Preceded by  New Creation
Succeeded by  William Hay
Name  Eileen Bell
Eileen Bell newsimgbbccoukmediaimages41108000jpg41108
Deputy  Francie Molloy (2007 - 2007) David McClarty (2007 - 2007) John Dallat (2007 - 2007)
Born  15 August 1943 (age 72) Dromara, Northern Ireland (1943-08-15)
Role  Member of the Legislative Assembly
Party  Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
Education  Ulster University, Dominican College, Fortwilliam

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Eileen Bell CBE (born 15 August 1943) is a politician from Dromara, Northern Ireland. She was a former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for North Down and former deputy leader of the Alliance Party.


Early life

Bell was born in Dromara and grew up in West Belfast. She was educated at the Dominican College, Belfast and the University of Ulster. She held a number of jobs including working in the Civil Service and later as Welfare Officer for the Community of the Peace People.

Political career

In 1986 she became General Secretary of the Alliance Party. Later in 1993 she won election to North Down Borough Council. She was later elected as one of two "top-up" members of the 1996 Northern Ireland Peace Forum and in the 1998 Northern Ireland Assembly elections won a seat in North Down.

In June 2001 Bell was appointed Deputy Leader of the Alliance by Seán Neeson, following the resignation of Seamus Close over disagreements on the party's direction. However Neeson himself soon resigned and Bell stood for the leadership as a traditionalist bridge-building candidate, against David Ford who was on the more consciously Liberal, internationalist wing of the party. At the Party's council Bell received 45 votes to Ford's 86 and she remained as the party's deputy leader. In the 2003 Assembly elections she retained her seat.

On 10 December 2005 it was announced that Bell would stand down as Deputy Leader of the party and not contest the next Assembly elections.

Bell acted as the Speaker of the Assembly established by the Northern Ireland Act 2006 and of the Transitional Assembly established by the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006. On 8 May 2007 she was appointed Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly (which had been suspended since 2002) only to be replaced that same day by William Hay.

Post Political career

After leaving political life Eileen Bell turned to a charity she had long supported and became Vice President and Legislative Advisor to Autism NI. She has been one of the driving forces behind a Lobby for an Autism Bill in Northern Ireland.


She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours.


Eileen Bell Wikipedia

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